One of the biggest sources of frustration for the Android powered amateur radio operator, is the lack of apps supporting the most popular modes we find on Windows, Apple or even Linux computers. The reasons for this is quite simple. Ham radio operators are cheap! We are willing to spend 700 bucks, a 1000 bucks, 2000 bucks on a rig, or 1200 bucks on an almost useless pactor modem, but we often don’t see any value in the time it takes to develop an app for Android. Even if the app is somewhere between 3 and 10 bucks, the perception is “it’s too much”. This attitude is killing the motivation of Developers who would like to make at least a little something for the effort they put into Android apps for amateur radio.
Thankfully there are some pretty cool things going on in the background. Developers are stepping up to create new mobile apps for amateur radio, with better features than we’ve seen previously. Until those apps are available to the public, we need to find a way to bridge the gap between the desktop and laptop worlds, and the ultra-portable tablet or smartphone world, one which almost everyone has and their pocket or backpack. For this we have a Raspberry Pi.
A raspberry piis a pretty inexpensive computer which we can use to install Linux Ubuntu to run headless, and control all of its functions through an Android tablet wirelessly. That includes the digital modes we use with fldigi, wsjt-x, and I’m hoping at some point I’ll be able to run Wine for the single Windows app I use for HF aprs. The Raspberry Pi will be connected to the audio interface, and the Yaesu FT-891 CAT control port, turning our Android tablet into a full-featured Linux compatible Digital Comms Power House.
I’m using a Raspberry Pi 3 B+ kit, purchased from Amazon. it came with the case, HDMI cable, Samsung Evo memory card, the Raspberry Pi 3 B plus, usb card reader, heat sink, and quick start guide.
As soon as I’m done with the current backlog videos, we’re going to do a headless Pi build and installation on the channel. Android operators won’t have to suffer the lack of good software anymore.
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